SOLUTIONS FOR TAKING IT FROM DRAB TO FAB
Add a mantel (or swap out your current one). If you don’t have a mantel over your fireplace, consider adding one. A mantel does double duty, serving as an anchor in the room as well as a shelf where you can display things. The type of mantel you choose depends on your room’s aesthetics. You’ll find free-floating mantels in a variety of materials—everything from reclaimed or carved wood to welded metal and stone.
Remove the mantel. Of course, there’s no rule that says you have to have a fireplace mantel. If you don’t think the mantel adds to your room’s aesthetics, go ahead and take it down.
Hang a piece of artwork. If your fireplace is for visual effect only (i.e. non-working), then the space above your mantel is perfect for displaying a favorite piece of art. (If your fireplace is a working fireplace, however, you may want to avoid hanging art above it, as over time the heat could damage it.)
Paint or whitewash the surrounding brick. If you’re looking to make a significant change, considering painting or whitewashing the brick. If you choose to paint, lighten things up with white, or go darker for drama. Just make sure to use paint that’s specifically formulated for high-heat areas.
If you’d prefer to lighten the brick without losing its character, try whitewashing, to tint the brick to a lighter tone. Whitewashing uses a mixture of white latex paint and water to mute dark tones, while preserving the brick’s natural attributes.
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